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A mix of new and old to entertain at downtown venue

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Anthony/Burgoine have planned a mix of familiar and fresh for concerts set for 7 p.m. Friday, and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Trinity Episcopal Church, 316 Adams St.


Corrected version: Time fixed for concert

Sounds like one name, but it actually represents one of the brightest collaborative teams in the area: Wayne Anthony, composer, conductor, performer. Nigel Burgoine, choreographer, producer, dancer.

With their respective groups — SonoNovo Chamber Orchestra and Ballet Theatre of Toledo — this creative pair have brought fresh dancing and original music to appreciative local audiences for years. Now in 2014, Anthony/Burgoine have planned a mix of familiar and fresh for concerts set for 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m Sunday at Trinity Episcopal Church, 316 Adams St., downtown.

The familiar will be music: Mussorgsky’s colorful Pictures at an Exhibition, Tchaikovsky’s soaring Serenade for Strings, the Pachelbel Canon in D, and Hoedown from Aaron Copland’s Rodeo. “Wayne and I said, ‘Let’s do something different. We have done stories for years,’ “ said Burgoine, whose company is celebrating its first decade.

In previous years, the Anthony/Burgoine team has produced story ballets like Peter and the Wolf, Snow White, and a Narnia Fantasy.

Seeking music which would be both dance-worthy and familiar to audiences, Anthony suggested the quartet of works. His fave is the Mussorgsky. “It will be an interesting sound with 13 lucky musicians,” noted Anthony, of his SonoNovo group.

For Burgoine, fresh steps were required, even though George Balanchine created masterful choreography for the Serenade, and Agnes de Mille famously set steps for the Copland work. Watching a rehearsal recently, Anthony, said, “I was amazed at what he had done, again. The man just knows his dancers.”

Translating the rich sonorities of the Tchaikovsky piece into movement for a large group – the BTT company and top students – Burgoine followed the bones of the work, creating a visual tapestry of extended legs and gracefully curved arms.

“Everybody will be dancing, dancing, dancing, with lots of entrances -- continual dancing all the time,” said Burgoine, of movements which will flow through Serenade’s three connected movements. While pantomime might seem natural for Pictures at an Exhibition, a collection of 10 distinctive pieces inspired by the composer’s artist friend, Viktor Hartmann, Burgoine says he resisted – to the relief of the large corps of dancers involved.

“Some of them feared I might make them wear eggs and look like Lady Gaga,” he said with a chuckle. “We’re not bringing the pictures to life. We’re reflecting on people in a gallery,” he explained. “My dancers will assume different personalities in each picture. Sections will go from dark and deep music to light and springy.”

Burgoine adds that he has never seen a ballet set to the Mussorgsky score.

For the Pachelbel, an iconic work adapted for myriad performance settings, Burgoine went minimalist. “It’s always been for weddings,” he said. (How many thousand brides have processed down the aisle to the steady ground bass of the Pachelbel?)

A completely fresh take was required, he decided.

“What I’ve done is a complete ballet class for two dancers. They will start on the barre, go through the first exercises you do on the barre all the way through a typical ballet class.”

The work could be instructive for ballet tyros, who may not realize just how much work goes into preparation on a regular basis.

“I have to teach class every single day,” Burgoine continued. “It was such fun putting the familiar routine to music.”

Finally, the Hoedown, a brief and lively finale, will unite all his dancers once more, for a western-styled piece filled with square dance and two-step references.

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